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Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List- Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR
Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski

Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski by Paul Parker

I obviously love to read- or I wouldn’t have created the #NASCAR Reading List feature here on BadGroove. But what you might not know is that I love books themselves. Yes, I am talking about those bound collections of paper with writings in them. I can’t tell you how much I miss bricks and mortar bookstores (the nearest one to me is in the next county- 27 miles away or so) because I would often just go to wander around and look at the books on those occasions that I didn’t have anything else to do.  If I had a huge house- I would devote a whole room to being a library, but alas I don’t have a house like that so I have a book case. A very crammed full book case at that, which is one of the reasons I invested in an e-reader. I now only keep physical copies of books I absolutely love as it’s all I have room for now.  Most of those books are works of fiction with a small  motorsports section that is crammed so tight I have had to weed through it multiple times. I  think I might fudge this one and put it in my photography section so I don’t have to weed out any more of my beloved motorsports books.

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer by Paul Parker has got to be one of the most gorgeous books I have seen in a long time. It’s a book of motorsports photographs detailing what is often called racing’s “golden era” – pre-WWII through the early 1970s.  But first let me give you a little background on who Louis Klemantaski is before we get into this beautiful book.

Klemantaski is often credited with inventing modern motorsports photography. He started out with a young boy with a passion for driving in Britain and was said to have started driving jeep prototypes at the tender age of six. At age ten he received his first camera and would take pictures at his cousin’s tennis and cricket matches.  He combined his passion for motorsports (he was a driver for  several years before a leg injury prohibited from being able to compete any more but it didn’t stop him from going to races) with his love of photography.  Klemantaski often inserted himself right into the action at the track- often standing just off-course or roaming the paddock (infield) to get some of the most incredible images of a time as he pushed the boundaries of film speed (yes FILM) get the photos that captured an era of motorsports.  Many of these photos that are collected in this book!

The book itself is a hearty 12 x 9.75  inch 272 page book- it’s heavy- trust me as someone who has been lugging it around for a week. There are a total of 357 photos from the Klemantaski collection grace the pages, a majority of which are black and white- but there are some in color.   As part of this review I have permission to share some of the photos in the book with you- I think you will love them like I do:

Page 24: Donington GP October 2, 1937 (from Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer)

Page 72: Cambell Trophy Brooklands August 7, 1939 (from Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer)

Page 108: Blandford Road Race August 27, 1949 (from Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer)

Sussex International Trophy Goodwood June 2, 1952 (from Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer)

Page 217: Le Mans June 11 and 12, 1957 (from Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer)

The bottom photo is my favorite (although I do love the picture of the car on the roof too) because of the shadow of Klemantaski on the track as the car is coming around the corner!

This book is great for racing fans- especially historic racing fans as well as photographers.

About the Author: Paul Parker is a U.K.-based author specializing in historic motor  racing and motorsports photography. He has published several books and also works regularly with many UK magazines including: Octane, Classic and Sports Car, Autosport, and Motorsport.

About the Klemantaski Collection: The Klemantaski Collection is one of the largest and most varied libraries of its kind in the world. It consists of over 500,000 motor racing and related automotive photographs of which includes the 60,000 images taken by Klemantaski himself during his career from 1936-1974.  You can even order copies of many of the photographs from the collection, including those by Klemantaski.


For “Full Disclosure” purposes: I was provided a copy of this gorgeous book from the publisher for the purpose of review. I will not give it to you- I love it too much- so don’t even ask.

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